Over a decade ago God opened the door for us to broadcast our teaching ministry over the radio airwaves on 89.7 GRACEfm. However, some of you have noticed that at the beginning of February we are no longer on the radio, prompting you to wonder what happened?
There are a couple of factors that led to this decision. First of all, the current state of the economy has caused us to re-evaluate our budget and make sure we are being good stewards of the resources that God is providing. We spent $16,788.00 a year to be on GRACEfm. I remember how shocked I was over 30 years ago when I discovered that you had to “pay” to be on the radio. Until then, I had just assumed that either the radio stations were just a benevolent ministry that wanted to promote the teaching of God’s Word and just allowed pastors to send in their sermons for free. Or as in the case of my pastor Tom Stipe, I thought that the pastor was just such a phenomenal preacher that radio stations were basically begging for the pastor to send their sermons to the radio station. I was very surprised to discover that Tom Stipe and his church had to pay, and I might add had to pay a lot to be on the radio. In fact, this may be a new discovery for some of you as well. Having said that, GRACEfm, is a very ministry minded radio station. They put the gospel ahead of the budget. While it costs them hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to operate their station, they do everything possible to be affordable to churches. For example, for us to have had the same time slot on a local competing station, we would’ve paid around $60,000.
While many of you have communicated how blessed you’ve been by our teaching ministry on the radio, we have noticed that our effectiveness on the radio has decreased over the years. For example, 10 years ago, when newcomers to our church were asked “how they heard of us?” There was an average of 3 to 5 people a month who said one of the ways they heard about us was the radio. Presently, we can go 2 months before 1 person tells us they heard about us on the radio. Our motivation to be on the radio was not to draw more people into our church; however, this serves as a good barometer to measure radio’s effectiveness. With our limited budget, we felt the money spent on radio ministry could be better used elsewhere.
However, we have adapted to the times, and have increased the availability of our teaching ministry on YouTube, Facebook, as well as making our teaching available via podcasts on Spotify, Apple, Google and Radiopublic platforms, which can be accessed anytime from anywhere in the world.
Secondly, we have some exciting outreach ministry opportunities planned in the near future. These new outreach ministries could have a much larger impact on our community than we were having on the radio. Therefore, we felt that it would be a better use of our limited finances to invest in these new opportunities and discontinue our radio ministry on GRACEfm. These ministry opportunities are still in the embryonic stage, but I look forward to announcing them publicly to the church within the next few months when the details are more solidified.
It was a privilege to have our teaching ministry on the radio for the past decade and a half, and I am sorry to see it end. I am very thankful that many of you were blessed by this ministry, but I look forward to the new opportunities the Lord has set before us.
“For a great and effective door has opened to me…”(1Corinthians 16:9a). As the old saying goes “When one door closes another one opens.” While the door to radio ministry has closed, God is in the process of opening a new great and effective door of ministry for our church. I look forward to being able to share more with you about those exciting opportunities soon.